Former Clinton pollster Dick Morris wrote last week that George Bush can lose the 2004 presidential election, in spite of being victorious in war - because the Democrats may run someone against him who will take away his issues, as Clinton did in '92, by being almost as conservative. (Which frankly isn't hard.)
But there's one issue, Morris said, that the Dems can't take away from the Republicans: an immigration crackdown.
"Bush needs a hot-button domestic issue with which to dominate the debate of 2004. I think that a crackdown on immigration from terrorist nations and drug testing for students in schools may offer the best choices. But without an issue that controls the domestic agenda, President Bush may repeat his father's history."
Morris has an unprincipled focus on enforcing immigration laws against terrorist countries. After 9/11 he wrote that "we must turn the INS' attention from its almost exclusive obsession with keeping working Mexicans out of the country to using the tools of the INS to catch terrorists" "For Safer Borders: Better Enforcement's The Key," New York Post, October 25, 2001).
But his point that immigration reform is a winning Republican issue applies to the larger issue of immigration restriction.
Morris doesn't propose immigration reform because he's been thinking deeply about the issue. He says it because he thinks it will work electorally.
Democrats can't come out for immigration restriction or even enforcement because it will infuriate their base. Republicans can win with it, because it will energize their base, which has been feeling a little neglected.
Karl Rove, Bush's Clinton, isn't about to propose immigration reform, for whatever reason. But, some day soon, some other unscrupulous operative will.
The Arizona Republic reports that illegal immigrants are bankrupting the nation. Not the American nation, which still has a lot of ruin in it, but the Tohono O'odham nation, an Indian reservation unlucky enough to border Mexico on one side, and America on the other.
The Tohono O'odham (Pronounced toe-hone-o ahtum, and known as the Papago until 1986) found an international border running through their lands in 1848, as a result of the U.S. purchase of Arizona. Many of them moved north of the Border to escape Mexican persecution.
Now the flood of undocumented immigrants is costing them a lot of money.
"Tribal leaders estimate border-related expenses, from investigating immigrant deaths to towing vehicles abandoned by smugglers, cost the Indian nation $6.5 million to $7 million in 2002."
[DEATH TRAIL: Illegals create financial crisis for O'odham, By Daniel Gonzalez, The Arizona Republic, April 30, 2003]
The Indians blame both the Federal Government, for its enforcement successes elsewhere, which tend to "funnel" crossers to unguarded areas, and the smugglers.
I sympathize with the Tohono O'odham. But it's all part of a larger picture, in which the same illegals are traipsing through white people's land, too. The collapse of the southern border is a problem not only for the Tohono O'odham, but for a much bigger nation to the north of it.
A Malaysian reporter describes his meeting with an illegal.
"Sympathy has a way of playing tricks on one's judgment, as this reporter found it difficult not to sympathize with Beraim, having known him to be a trusted guide in Jolo.
"It was, however, an obligation to tell him the honest thing - that he is not welcome in the State unless there are employers willing to go through the process of the law to have him employed."
Daily Express [East Malaysia], No more a job haven for illegals, 28 April, 2003
Malaysia is different, though. Since last February, when it started an operation known as Ops Nyah II Bersepadu, it has deported 200,000 illegals, mostly Filipinos and Indonesians.
Malaysia being what it is, some immigrants have even been caned. (No, I don't think that's a good idea for American immigration enforcement. I only point out, for the benefit of the ACLU, that America is once again much kinder to illegals than almost all other countries.)
The Daily Express quotes the Sabah police commissioner, Datuk Pahlawan Ramli Yusuff:
"Our crime index had gone up a little bit this year as compared to the corresponding period last year and most of the offences were committed by foreigners...we believe some (foreigners) are still loitering in some major towns in Sabah.
"Most of these foreigners (involved in robberies) are unemployed. I believe most employers refused to employ them because of the strict Immigration Act introduced last year. So they are jobless; when they are jobless...they commit crimes such as robbing students"....
Naturally, the UAE doesn't let the guest-workers vote, because it doesn't let anybody vote, except the Emirs.
But the UAE is having problems, too. I attach a couple of quotes, without comment, to show that America is not the only country with this problem.
Gulf News, United Arab Emirates - 29Apr 2003
Dubai/Sharjah |By Ashfaq Ahmed and Bassma Al Jandaly
"The clock is ticking rapidly for illegals in the country - and by tomorrow the deadline for the amnesty will have passed, leaving those still in the country facing hefty fines and jail sentences.
"An official from the Ministry of Interior who described illegals as a 'pain in the neck,' said: 'In these last hours they suddenly seem to have realized there is an amnesty on offer and are rushing to get exit passes.'"
"[The official said] 'But those who remain will be hunted after April 30 and deported, which means there will be a permanent ban on their entering the country.' The number of those who have left has not reached the anticipated 100,000."